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China reluctant to blame ally N.Korea for tension

SEOGWIPO, South Korea — China's premier said that tensions over the sinking of a South Korean warship urgently need to be defused, but did not join other key nations in blaming longtime ally North Korea and gave no indication he would support U.N. sanctions.
Premier Wen Jiabao's comments came on Sunday at the end of a weekend summit in South Korea where he was closely watched for signs that Beijing would get tougher on the North, which is accused of sinking the naval ship Cheonan with a torpedo two months ago, killing 46 sailors.
At a closing news conference, Wen gave no clear indication that Beijing was ready to endorse South Korea's plans to bring North Korea before the U.N. Security Council for sanctions or condemnation. China's backing would be key because it wields veto power at the Security Council as a permanent member.
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